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Misc First in Its ClassVassar’s Student Newspaper Wins Top National Journalism Award

The Miscellany News made Vassar history in April when it was selected for the first time by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as the best small college (enrollment under 10,000) student newspaper in the Northeast. Two months later, the Misc eclipsed that honor when it was named the best small college newspaper in the country.

The newspaper won the SPJ’s National Mark of Excellence award for converting the publication into an online newsletter in the spring of 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the editions of the Misc submitted to the Society of Professional Journalists’ panel of judges Photo: Courtesy of The Miscellany News

In an announcement at the SPJ’s annual convention in April, the judges lauded the MISC for reacting swiftly to its readers’ changing needs.  “(The paper’s) incredibly high-quality, evocative writing, combined with a variety of full color graphics (all while working remotely due to COVID-19) make this a winning entry,” the SPJ judges wrote.

Jessica Moss ’21, who was the Misc’s Editor-in-Chief  in 2020, said she was proud of every member of the staff for their contributions that led to the national recognition. “When the pandemic first hit, college newsrooms across the country entered the forefront of national reporting of college closures, remote learning, and higher ed while facing extraordinary operational and personal challenges,” Moss said. “The Misc was one of those newsrooms. We wanted to meet our readers where they were, continue delivering crucial information to our communities, and provide an outlet for students to share their experiences. We are grateful to the SPJ for recognizing our dedication and care, and are proudest to have continued to purposefully do what we came here to do: to serve. I am grateful to everyone who read and contributed to the Misc for helping me feel a sense of community and purpose throughout some of the most difficult months of the pandemic.”

Frankie Knuckles ’21, who served as managing editor in 2020, described the award as “incredibly meaningful on its own, but even more so reflecting on how much we as a staff—and, really, a student body—put into these issues. These pages are the truest reflection we could render of our collective experience in Spring 2020. Countless guest and staff writers offered deeply personal pieces for these issues, artists contributed work, and editors helped fine-tune every word.”